Each truck accident case is unique, so it’s hard to put an exact deadline on how long it takes for any truck accident claim to settle, including truck accidents. What we can say is that stronger cases settle faster than weak ones.
If your evidence is strong enough, a truck accident insurer will quickly settle the claim before it gets to court. The claims process also goes much faster if you have a truck accident attorney on your side to help with negotiations.
Beware the Quick Truck Accident Insurance Settlement
If you receive a quick settlement offer from a truck insurer, or even your own insurer, beware! It’s likely lower than what you could get if you had the help of a lawyer on your side. Consider a personal injury lawyer as your guide to tell you if a settlement is reasonable or not.
Insurers love to send early lowball settlement offers because once you accept one, you can’t get more money from your claim. If you have additional injuries that show up weeks or months later and you’ve settled, you’ll have to pay for that care out of pocket.
One way to speed up your truck accident claim is to get a medical examination as soon as possible after your accident and to follow all care instructions. This will give your lawyer valuable evidence for your claim and reduce the chances of additional health issues that will cause a renegotiation of your settlement demand.
The Overall Process of a Settlement
We practice in no-fault insurance states, so the first thing to check is your own insurer. If you have enough personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, your lawyer may suggest making a claim through that. This is the fastest way to get a settlement, but few people have enough coverage to pay for a truck accident entirely and it will not cover pain and suffering.
If you don’t have enough coverage, the next step is to see if you meet the serious injury qualifications to sue in your state. For a truck accident, you will probably meet this standard once the truck accident investigation is done. If you don’t, you may be stuck with only what your PIP coverage qualifies you to get. This is one good reason to purchase more than the minimum amount.
If you can sue, we can write a demand letter detailing your case and how much we think you deserve. The negotiations over these terms can take some time, but will usually end in a settlement. If not, we will have to go to trial.
Severe Injuries Make Settlements Finish Faster
If your truck accident involves extremely serious injuries like amputation or paralysis, an insurer will be quite quick to offer you as much money as allowed under the FMCSA-required policy. These injuries are easy to prove to a court.
The question will be whether the policy limits truly cover all the costs you’ll face because of your injury. If they don’t, you may need to pursue further compensation through a trial. That choice is up to you.
Trials Can Slow Your Truck Accident Claim Settlement
A trial allows you to claim more money than you could through the earlier methods, but it is a much slower process. We have to wait for our day in court to present the case. If the court has a busy docket, this could take weeks or months.
The actual trial may be short or long, depending on things like:
- How many parties are involved
- The ease of proving your injuries and other damages
- Access to witnesses for testimony
- Whether a jury trial is needed or not
It is always your decision whether to go to trial. It may be the only way to get adequate compensation, but it will slow down your truck accident settlement, guaranteed.
Expect Up to Six Months Before a Final Settlement
A good rule-of-thumb is that it will be up to six months from when you contact your lawyer to settle your truck accident claim. We must emphasize that this is an estimate only, and we based it on having enough evidence to get a quick settlement.
If you must take your case to court, you could face several months before you can get your day in court. It may be hard to pay for your bills while you wait, but hang in there. Your lawyer will do their best to speed the process along and prevent delaying tactics from insurance companies.
Yes, sometimes insurers drag their feet a little to build up financial pressure on claimants. A lower offer can look more tempting if you have creditors coming after you, but if you give in you could miss out on far more compensation.
You’re Ultimately in Control of Your Settlement
If there is an open offer, it is up to you to decide whether it’s worth the value of your injuries. Ultimately, you are in control of how long it can take. If you keep rejecting offers, for whatever reason, it will delay your case and may push the insurer to force a trial.
While your lawyer will offer you advice on what to do, you know your situation better than any lawyer. If you feel satisfied with an offer and you’re clear about all the things you need money for after your accident, you can end the waiting game by accepting it.